The Over 50 Writer

Confessions of a Reluctant Reader
Thursday, May 9, 2013 by Patti Shene

IT IS A GREAT PLEASURE TO WELCOME AUTHOR MAX ELLIOT ANDERSON TO THE OVER 50 WRITER.  MAX SHARES HIS JOURNEY FROM RELUCTANT READER TO AUTHOR OF ADVENTURE BOOKS FOR BOYS (GIRLS AND ADULTS ENJOY THEM TOO!)

BE SURE TO LEAVE A COMMENT TO ENTER THE DRAWING FOR THE GIVEAWAY!

My father published over 70 books during his lifetime. Some of his books included a couple of popular kids series, yet I never read any of them. I grew up in a family with six other siblings, so it was easy for some things to be missed. In my case, no one noticed that I didn’t spend a lot of time reading. Or, I might just have been good at hiding it.

We lived in a rural area of Michigan near Muskegon. Our home was situated on several wooded acres with few other houses anywhere nearby. Not far away was Wolf Lake, where I spent endless summer hours. It was common for me to hit the back door before breakfast and not to return until dark. And I wonder how many miles I put on that rusty old junker of a bike back then?

Along with my friends, I used to roam the vast woods surrounding our house. The area included miles of trails, a river, and lots of climbing trees. What boy could be expected to think about reading a book with such a variety of places to run, play, swim, and ride my bike?

Looking back, I can see now that I was a person who learned by watching, as opposed to reading about something. Show me and I get it right away. Read about it and who knows? My friends and I invented a host of pretend characters and situations from cops and robbers, or cowboys, to war games.

If I wasn’t involved in action, often a little dangerous, I wasn’t happy. Skinned knees, elbows, and knuckles were not uncommon. In some of those situations, my father used to smile and say, “Boys will be boys.” This drove my sisters crazy! But the wisdom of his words still rings in my ears as I observe boys today.

Our daughter teaches second grade in a public school. We have had many conversations concerning the boys in her class, and issues surrounding reading. This has provided a real life lab for me to discuss some of my ideas concerning the kinds of material boys like to read and why. It’s sad to know that so many boys live under a medicated cloud when all they really need, in many cases, is to run, jump, yell, and play until they drop. Whoever came up with the idea that a boy should sit in a chair for most of the time when the sun is up, in a typical classroom setting, just doesn’t understand boys.

Lest you think that my situation is unique, with an author for a father, and not caring to read as a child, consider this. A recent article in People Magazine reported the story of author James Patterson. Mr. Patterson is one of America’s most prolific authors. He has a young son, and this boy doesn’t like to read. So Mr. Patterson has established a web site at readkiddoread.com. The central focus of this site is to encourage kids to read, especially reluctant reader boys. I’ve also established a blog, Books for Boys.

Later, as I attended school, I found other ways to hide my lack of interest in reading. It was common for me to approach book reports a little differently than other students in my class. I’d read the opening chapter from the book, the middle chapter, and the last chapter. From there I had a pretty good idea who the main character was, and a gist of the story. Then I’d just make things up as I went. A little later on, I suspected that the reports were only busy work so I decided to test the theory. Right in the middle of one of my reports I wrote, “If you’re still reading this, I’ll treat you to a steak dinner at the restaurant of your choice.” If I remember correctly, I got an A on that report which, of course, the teacher never read. I didn’t understand at the time that it was the reading of the book which was intended for my benefit, and the report was not the important part.

In spite of my lack of reading for enjoyment, I managed to finish high school, and graduated from college with a degree in Psychology. It was during my college years that I began to read more diligently, because I loved the subject matter.

It wasn’t until just a few years ago that I began to explore why I hadn’t enjoyed reading as a boy. I visited bookstores and the library where I looked at hundreds of books. That’s where I saw some interesting patterns in many of the books. They had too much detail for my taste. Descriptions of people, places, and things tended to be far more than I wanted, too. Large blocks of words, sometimes several long paragraphs together, would have defied me, as a child, to jump in.

Even as an adult, I am easily distracted. If I hear something, I have to look up to see what it is. That causes me to lose my place on a page, and it’s frustrating to go looking for the spot to begin again. A radio or TV in the background, or people talking in another room, are equally distracting while reading.

At the same time, I came to understand that reading is one of the most important skills we need in order to prepare for a successful future. Not many people get to grow up like I did, where my dad was also a motion picture producer. I spent as much time as possible hanging around the studio during production. In those early years, I decided I also wanted to tell stories through film. At the age of eight years-old, I was “killed” by a hit-and-run driver, while riding my bike. But…since the movie I was in was being shot in black and white, the blood that ran from my nose, mouth and ear, came from a chocolate syrup bottle.

I found I could pursue a career in the film and video production world without spending a lot of time reading. Try doing that if your dream is to become a doctor or lawyer. But since I was primarily a visual learner, it made perfect sense for me to find my way into a more visual form of expression. I’ve produced, shot, or directed over 500 national television commercials for True Value Hardware Stores for example. And I’ve told thousands of stories, visually, for industrial, medical, and retail clients in my video production business.

Armed with a new understanding of the critical importance of reading in our education, I set out to write the kinds of middle grade fiction I would have enjoyed as a child. They are short on detail and description, and contain a lot of humor, action, adventure, mystery, dialog, and heart-pounding action. You might say that I’m on sort of a mission in order to get kids interested in reading, especially boys.

My books are written so that most of the chapters end in a cliffhanger. The reader simply must find out what happens next. Children tell me that reading one of my action-adventures

or mysteries is like being in - not reading - but being in an exciting movie. That’s probably because I think visually first, and write like that in my books.

I might say I’m writing middle grade books for boys, but I’m happy to report that in addition to reluctant readers, my books are equally enjoyed by avid readers, girls, and even adults.

Today I’m reading a book my dad wrote in 1949 as he traveled across China. It’s so interesting and I should have read it years ago. Don’t wait as long as I did to start enjoying books. Reading allows children to exercise a God-given gift that is shrinking in its use and importance. That gift is our use of imagination. Too much of what we experience today comes from others who decide, by the music they use and the pictures and words we hear from a screen, what we should think, how we should feel, and what our reactions should be. Reading engages all aspects of our imagination.

In the end, remember readers are the leaders others follow.

 

 

LEAVE A COMMENT BETWEEN NOW AND 6:00 PM (MST)  THURSDAY MAY 16TH FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A COPY OF CAPTAIN JACK'S TREASUREDON'T FORGET TO PROVIDE AN EMAIL ADDRESS! (if you don't leave an email addy, I have no way to get in touch with you if you win!)

 

 

Max Elliot Anderson grew up as a struggling reader.  After surveying the market, he sensed the need for action-adventures and mysteries for readers 8 – 13, especially boys.

Using his extensive experience in the production of dramatic motion pictures, videos, and television commercials, Mr. Anderson brings that same visual excitement and heart-pounding action to his stories. Each book has different characters, setting, and plot.

Ten books are published, ten more are under contract, with several additional manuscripts completed. Young readers have reported that reading one of his books is like actually being in an exciting movie.

To learn more about his books, go to Max's blog or his Amazon Author Page


Comments

Brenda S Eldred From Missouri At 5/21/2013 12:01:54 PM

Having raised 2 boys, I understand what you shared. Both the read some but could have read more but they were interested and I was working. Thankfully now at 35 and 40, they are both readers of Christian books. The oldest boy has a 2 yr old and expecting a girl. They read to Jonah and I'm thankful.

Max Elliot Anderson From Rockford, IL At 5/13/2013 9:49:50 AM

Elsi, it'g great to know about the work you do to help kids with reading.

Max Elliot Anderson From Rockford, IL At 5/13/2013 9:48:32 AM

Thank you for your nice comment, Donna, I appreciate it.

Patti Shene From Colorado At 5/10/2013 7:51:59 PM

Wow, Donna, what a nice surprise to see you here! Yes, Max has captured the imagination of several young readers with his stories. Thanks so much for stopping by.

Donna Martenson From Colorado At 5/10/2013 7:46:24 PM

How wonderful to find an author that understands that our boy readers need more than just nonfiction to spur their interests! As a retired teacher I know what a challenge it can be to find books for this age group. Hurray for Mr. Anderson!

Patti Shene From Colorado At 5/10/2013 6:02:26 PM

Hi Elsi. Great to see you here. I think reading is one of the most important tools a.person can have. I deeply respect folks who work with reluctant feaders.

Elsi Dodge From crazy Boulder, Colorado At 5/10/2013 3:40:58 PM

Teaching reluctant readers (aka, special ed and ELL kids) is what I do. I was thrilled when a 10th grade Brazilian boy complained, ""I didn't like the end! He should do more!"" Yes!

The Over 50 Writer


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WELCOME AUTHOR PATRICK E. CRAIG
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9/15/2016

WELCOME AUTHOR ALICE K. ARENZ
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8/31/2016

WELCOME AUTHOR CLEO LAMPOS
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8/18/2016

WELCOME AUTHOR JUNE FOSTER
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8/4/2016

WELCOME AUTHOR ELLIE GUSTAFSON
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7/28/2016

WELCOME AUTHOR GAIL KITTLESON
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6/2/2016

WELCOME AUTHOR JO HUDDLESTON
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5/19/2016

WELCOME AUTHOR CAROLE BROWN
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5/4/2016

The Tenacity of an Arachnid by Sandy Kirby Quandt
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4/21/2016

WELCOME AUTHOR BONNIE ENGSTROM
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4/7/2016

REVIEW OF SAINT'S ROOST by TERRY BURNS
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3/30/2016

WELCOME AUTHOR ANNETTE O'HARE
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3/17/2016

WELCOME AUTHOR DONNA SCHLACHTER
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3/3/2016

REVIEW OF HANNAH'S CHOICE BY JAN DREXLER
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2/27/2016

WELCOME AUTHOR WADE WEBSTER
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WELCOME AUTHOR PAT JEANNE DAVIS
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2/3/2016

WELCOME AUTHOR DEBRA E. MARVIN
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1/20/2016

HAPPY 2016 FROM WRITER SANDY KIRBY QUANDT
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1/7/2016

WELCOME AUTHOR GAIL KITTLESON
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12/18/2015

WELCOME AUTHOR JUNE FOSTER
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12/3/2015

WELCOME AUTHOR TERESA IVES LILLY
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WELCOME AUTHOR NIKE CHILLEMI
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10/14/2015

WELCOME AUTHOR KELLY IRVIN
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10/1/2015

WELCOME AUTHOR PATTY SMITH HALL
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WELCOME AUTHOR HOLLY MICHAEL
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WELCOME AUTHOR CONNIE MILLER PEASE
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WELCOME AUTHOR JOHNNIE ALEXANDER
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WELCOME AUTHOR TERESA POLLARD
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7/16/2015

WELCOME AUTHOR GAIL SATTLER
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WEIGHT LOSS DEVOTIONAL FREE ON KNDLE
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6/20/2015

WELCOME AUTHOR YVONNE ADERSON
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6/5/2015

WELCOME AUTHOR SHERRI STONE
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WELCOME AUTHOR MARIANNE JONES
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REVIEW OF INDEBTED BY BRAXTON DeGARMO
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WELCOME AUTHOR DEANNA K. KLINGEL
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WELCOME AUTHOR TERESA IVES LILLY
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WELCOME AUTHOR PEG PHIFER
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WELCOME AUTHOR DARLENE FRANKLIN
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WELCOME AUTHOR MICHELLE GRIEP
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NEGOTIATING THE LEARNING CURVE
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WHEN ENCOURAGEMENT COMES YOUR WAY
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1/30/2015

WELCOME AUTHOR SANDY NADEAU
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1/14/2015

I AM A WRITER--OR AM I REALLY?
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WELCOME AUTHOR GEORGE DUNCAN
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12/3/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR MARTHA ROGERS
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WELCOME AUTHOR EDITH EDWARDS
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WELCOME AUTHOR GAIL KITTLESON
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WELCOME AUTHOR CAMILLE EIDE
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WELCOME AUTHOR FRANCES SUSANNE BROWN
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WELCOME AUTHOR AVA PENNINGTON
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WELCOME AUTHOR LILLIAN DUNCAN
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WELCOME AUTHOR CYNTHIA TONEY
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WELCOME AUTHOR CARRIE STUART PARKS
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7/16/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR & PUBLISHER TRACY RUCKMAN
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WELCOME AUTHOR JANET SKETCHLEY
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WELCOME AUTHOR ANE MULLIGAN
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WELCOME AUTHOR REBECCA CAREY LYLES
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DARK BIOLOGY BY BONNIE DORAN
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BY THE WATERS OF KADESH BY CAROLE TOWRISS
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WHERE HOPE STARTS BY ANGELA D. MEYER
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THE CHARM BRACELET BY SUSAN PAGE DAVIS
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Love Redeemed by Kelly Irvin
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Shadows of the Past by Patricia Bradley
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2/20/2014

WELCOME WRITER DELORES LIESNER
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The Heartbeat of the Novel by James R. Callan
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Don't Let Bible Contradictions Rob Your Faith
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1/2/2014

Welcome Author Lilliann Duncan
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5/30/2013

Confessions of a Reluctant Reader
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5/9/2013

WELCOME AUTHOR LENA NELSON DOOLEY
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5/2/2013

WELCOME AUTHOR KATHI MACIAS
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4/24/2013

Review of Congo Dawn by Jeanette Windle
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4/18/2013

I'm back
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4/11/2013

Welcome Author JoAnn Durgin
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2/14/2013

Welcome Award-Winning Author Susan Page Davis
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2/7/2013

Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks
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Introducing Jeanette Windle and Congo Dawn
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Author Carole Johnson on Perseverance
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The Value of Social Media
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1/9/2013

A Glimpse Into the Future
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1/2/2013

Welcome Author Jo Huddleston
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Give Some Holiday Hope for Just $3.99
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Great Christmas books from Lena Nelson Dooley
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Welcome to Author Jude Urbanski
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A Writers Journey Part IV
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Interview with Author Kelly Irvin
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Whose prophecy do you believe?
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11/13/2012

Welcome Author Michal J. Webb
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11/13/2012

Meet Author Sharon Shrock and the Women of Valley
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11/13/2012

Welcome Author Lillian Duncan
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